MSD’s Victrelis (boceprevir) has been launched in the UK for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C (CHC) genotype 1 infection.
Victrelis is the first licensed drug to target the virus directly after its assessment was fast-tracked by the EMA.
Dr Ashley Brown, Consultant Hepatologist of St Mary’s & Hammersmith Hospitals, says the drug offers “new hope for those in whom previous treatment has been unsuccessful”.
Approximately 250,000 people in the UK are chronically infected with hepatitis C – many of whom are unaware they are infected and consequently diagnosis is delayed.
Clinical trials found that in patients who had failed previous treatment, the addition of Victrelis almost tripled the number of those in which the virus had cleared.
In previously untreated patients, the addition of Victrelis nearly doubled those in which the virus had cleared compared to standard therapy alone.
Hepatitis C can lead to an inflammation of the liver and subsequent fibrosis (scarring) of the liver tissue. Ultimately, it can cause significant liver damage, including cirrhosis and liver cancer.